Mindful Checklist for Pausing; Step Into the Gap

 

Pause. Right Here. Right Now. When you stop, and pause you make room for yourself to be in life. You contact yourself and see what you think, feel, need, and desire. The pause allows you to care for yourself and honor your experience.

It is said that  pausing is the beginning of all healing practices. So, when you step into the space that pausing allows you begin to heal yourself of strife, anxiety, and overwhelm.  You release tension in the body even if only for a moment. This is not easy to do because you are either being pushed along in life or find yourself rushing into life, and both instances create a push/pull dynamic that is exhausting. You are caught in the middle of life.

Contraction and tension become the norm as you work hard to take care of all that needs to be cared for.  This dynamic is unsustainable and creates a pervasive sense of unease and sometimes dissatisfaction. This stressful pushing and pulling is the on ramp to adverse health conditions. Give yourself the gift of learning to pause. Use this mindful checklist to stop, contact, breathe and make room for you to move through life with more ease.

  • Stop, literally slow down to a complete stop

  • Take a breath; deep inhale and slow continuous exhale. Do this a few times.

  • Know that you are here; feel your feet on the ground and the weight of your body.

  • Look up and out to the world; take in your surroundings with all of your senses. Notice what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, be in this experience.

  • Bring a slight smile to your face. This sends a message to your nervous system that all is okay.

  • Experience a sensation of settling within the pause; a feeling of being grounded and present.

  • Proceed after the pause, knowing you have stepped into a gap inside the busy day and allowed yourself a full stop.

  • Ask; what is it like to be present even for a few moments?

“Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

Guillaume Apollinaire

Mindful Checklist Gratitude: Freshen Up Your Thanks

Mindful Checklist Gratitude: Freshen Up Your Thanks

Thanksgiving now behind us, we are left with an uplifted spirit from pausing to say thanks and gathering for connection and tradition. We can help that experience linger with an intention to notice, pause, and say thank you. Gratitude can be a way of living every day, and is a foundational component of resilience.

 Gratitude is good for your health, both physical (immune system booster) and emotional (increased optimism and joy). The good news is it can be cultivated.

Read More

Mindful Checklist Friendship

Mindful Checklist Friendship

Friendship, communing with another human being, especially when you feel seen, heard and understood is one of life’s rich and affirming gifts. We literally need one another. Friendship puts the soft edges on rough corners and we are worn smooth by friendly connections and belonging together.

Social support, such as friendship, is powerful medicine. Research shows that those with challenging and life-threatening illness rank social support in the top 9 factors that contribute to healing and thriving.

Use this mindful checklist to take inventory of your friendships and connections to consciously acknowledge their meaning and impact in your life.

Read More

Mindful Checklist Distraction

Mindful Checklist Distraction

One definition of Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose to the moment without expecting it to be different than what it is. Distraction is used to not pay attention to what is going on, often because you want the moment to be different than what it is. You don’t want to see what you don’t want to see. You also don’t want to feel what you don’t want to feel. And you are also busy…all the time. Distraction takes your mind, thoughts and feelings away from the moment because the moment feels uncomfortable. The discomfort can be anything; fear, boredom, anxiety, desire to control, despair, or not wanting to address some problem.

Read More

Mindful Checklist Resentment Part 2

The word resentment taken apart reads re sent to me. We rarely think of it this way because it feels like it is about the “other.” What is truer is the “other” often has no idea they have made an impact, positive or negative; they have simply moved on with their life. You are the one left stewing in perceived injustices. Most often resentment arises from expectations that are either not communicated, poorly communicated, unrealistic, or too demanding.

 Resentment is all about you holding on….to the encounter, the hurt feelings, the lack of appreciation and validation. It is all about you, and it is a catalyst for stress and anger increasing your odds for disease and poor health.

This is good news. Seeing it this way you step into choice. You choose whether to hold on to the poison or let it go so you can have peace. Sometimes this feels insurmountable, the contraction of resentment is so powerful. When your desire for peace is greater than your desire for retribution, you humbly step through the door and let go for your own inner peace and health. Life is precious and your exposure is short.

Use this mindful checklist, building on the one from last week to set down the flame of resentment and enter the cool space of release. It is here you will find peace.

Last week’s checklist was a good start to acknowledge, see and ask. To deepen the investigation, continue with the steps outlined below:

  • As more clarity arises, ask; what’s my part and is there desire to courageously move toward change

  • Set intention to see and own your part in the dynamic of the resentment/expectation dance

  • Be forgiving and tender with yourself and others; resentment is hard to let go of

  • Breathe in self-compassion and kindness, the feelings that resentment activates feel very real

  • Courageously ask directly for what you need and want

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

-Pema Chodron

If you enjoy these weekly mindful checklists share with friends.

Mindful Checklist Resentment

Resentment is often ignored and pushed underground while it eats at you. There are many scenarios that lead to resentment, but often it arises from doing things because you want to please and are seeking approval. If you don’t get the recognition you think you deserve, resentment arises and sets up house. This contracted feeling builds up over time, particularly if ulterior motives are in play such as, wanting something you won’t ask for, pleasing, saying yes when a loud NO is ringing in your ears, or not setting good boundaries.

Left to fester, a pervasive feeling of dissatisfaction sets in. Feeling unseen without skillfully navigating the root cause weighs heavy on the physical and emotional body system which can lead to dis-ease and chronic conditions.

There is a way out. And it takes courage to look at what you are up to with open, kind awareness. One of the things we often long for is increased freedom of the body, heart and mind.

Use this mindful checklist to check in with yourself about feelings of resentment, how they reside in your body, and how you can work with them. The resentment doesn’t have to be about only big things, even small grievances add up.

  • Set intention to investigate with kindness the resentment you hold; it’s there just below the surface; you can look at it

  • Recognize early frustration when you notice not receiving some affirmation you were expecting; be honest

  • Pause, take a deep breath and feel sensation in your feet and the support of the ground

  • Open to whatever feeling is there inside the resentment; disappointment, anger, sorrow, embarrassment, overwhelm

  • Be curious about what is really happening, with a willingness to see

  • Ask; what do I want in this situation? Listen for the answer with patience, kindness and a desire to know

This is a good start to mindfully work with resentment; acknowledge, see and ask.

 Stay tuned for part 2 of the mindful checklist for resentment next week.

“If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart...”   

-Pema Chodron

If you enjoy these weekly mindful checklists share with friends.

Mindful Checklist Disappointment

Disappointment is an everyday occurrence that is difficult to acknowledge and feel. It often registers as annoyance, frustration, or dissatisfaction. It’s often easier to diminish the experience to avoid feeling the full weight of disappointment.

If you give disappointment the attention it wants and deserves, it might open a door to experiencing the full range of your life in this moment, rather than the small contained box you keep yourself in for comfort and safety. Often, you do things to minimize the feeling of disappointment even calling it something different to avoid feeling its sinking weight.

I get it, who wants to turn towards and feel something as dense as disappointment?

Distraction, numbness, overeating, overdrinking and blame are a few go-to mechanisms to get away from being, feeling, and experiencing disappointment.

This consumes large amounts of energy to push down this unpleasant feeling, causing stress, depression, and less than optimum health. It’s worthwhile and important to turn toward the experience you are having right now…. even if it’s disappointment. The acknowledgment creates space and can lessen the constriction that disappointment brings.

Use this mindful checklist to move through disappointment:

  • Slow down enough to feel what your body is experiencing, tuning into the tightness

  • Take a breath and invite compassionate, kind energy

  • Acknowledge what you are feeling; allowing the fact that you are disappointed

  • Quiet your mind, feel the weight of your body, tune into the space you are in and feel the disappointment that it is here

  • Ask: where does this reside in my body? Does it have a color? Texture? Sound? – get to know your disappointment

  • Suspend judgment of yourself, others, and the cause of disappointment

  • Be kind to yourself, take care of your inner dialogue

  • Cultivate resilience; know that this is one moment in your life, not your whole life

“Disappointment is a good sign of basic intelligence. It cannot be compared to anything else: it is so sharp, precise, obvious, and direct. If we can open, then we suddenly begin to see that our expectations are irrelevant compared with the reality of the situations we are facing.”  

-Chogyam Trungpa  

If you enjoy these weekly mindful checklists share with friends.

Photo credit Kat J on Unsplash

 

Mindful Checklist for Listening

Mindful Checklist for Listening

Listening is an attention filled activity and often attention is scattered and fragmented by the pressures of life. Listening is a gift we give another person and ourselves for it connects us to another human being. Use these steps to practice actively listening and reap the benefits of connection.

Read More

When Cancer Comes

   When Cancer Comes

There is a poem by Mary Oliver, When Death Comes that has called to me for the vivid picture it paints of facing into death; of embracing the hardest thing we will face. When anything difficult arises in life we tend to feel victimized, afraid and withdraw as the first response without having a fuller picture of our capacity to respond and adapt. This poem gives us a map. The first few stanzas are:

When death comes

like the hungry bear in autumn;

when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

Read More

Learning to Meditate

Learning to Meditate

I'm still learning meditation. I've been learning for a long time. Really the word for it is practice, but I am not getting a whole lot "better" despite years and years of practice. That's not the point. Although some folks might think so.

Read More

Who Are You?

Who Are You?

It took radical self-love and acceptance to get to the heart of this profound and powerful question. It was a long a winding road to be sure, and it required a lot of shedding and healing to be who I was meant to be. It required profound accountability for the choices I’ve made along the way, and lots of forgiveness for the myself and others. It required self- kindness and a deep love for myself that I was often uncomfortable with. For years I thought self-love was selfish.

Read More